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Mikel Arteta has two undroppable Arsenal players who must start in crucial Newcastle clash

Mikel Arteta has two undroppable Arsenal players who must start in crucial Newcastle clash

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta faces a series of crucial choices ahead of Saturday’s match against Newcastle United, following the Gunners’ recent disappointing loss to West Ham in the Carabao Cup.

The 3-1 defeat at the London Stadium saw a lackluster performance from Arteta’s team, marked by an own goal from Ben White and goals by Mohammed Kudus and Jarrod Bowen before Martin Odegaard’s late consolation goal.

Arteta fielded a squad featuring several fringe players, including Reiss Nelson, Aaron Ramsdale, and Jakub Kiwior.


Arteta’s decision to start Oleksandr Zinchenko at left-back instead of Takehiro Tomiyasu suggests a potential shift for the upcoming match against Newcastle.

Zinchenko has been the preferred choice, although Tomiyasu’s limited league appearances have shown promise, especially in contrast to Zinchenko’s recent form. Tomiyasu’s defensive abilities could be better suited against Newcastle, known for their attacking prowess.

Newcastle, managed by Eddie Howe, has been impressive in attack this season, leading the league in expected goals. Their forward line possesses considerable speed and a penchant for taking on defenders individually.

Given these circumstances, Tomiyasu’s defensive strengths make him a more appropriate option, particularly in scenarios where defensive solidity is crucial.

Additionally, Arteta faces a significant decision in midfield, concerning who will partner club captain Martin Odegaard and the record-signing, presumably Declan Rice.

The solution becomes quite evident, especially when recalling last season’s visit to Tyneside. During that match, Jorginho was deployed as Arsenal’s number six.

The Italian midfielder displayed an outstanding performance, effectively controlling the match’s tempo and displaying exceptional game-reading skills, contributing to his team’s 2-0 win. His performance left a strong impression, prompting comparisons to Paul Scholes by Manchester United legend Gary Neville.

Neville expressed to Sky Sports after the game: “I say Paul Scholes is the best I’ve ever played with, and there was an example of what he used to do out on the pitch at Newcastle. In the most difficult atmospheres, in the most tense part of the season, against the most tenacious opposition, when it’s the most difficult and everyone else wants to lump it up the pitch, who’s going to get on the ball, take it when it’s tight, poke it through midfield, get yourself into an attacking shape so that you can actually set off your attacking patterns, and do that religiously and repetitively through those kind of games?

“At Manchester United, that man was Paul Scholes. He did it for 15 years. What we saw from Jorginho at Newcastle was a class performance, a real class performance. Partey had shown some nerves and some edginess in the last few matches when the team needed composure, and I thought Jorginho demonstrated what you really do need when it’s really at its toughest.

“Arsenal were under significant pressure, I thought it was going to be far too much for them, and I thought Jorginho was the difference for them, along with Odegaard, the two players with the most technical ability in that team. The two in midfield, Odegaard and Jorginho, won that game for Arsenal.”

Mikel Arteta has two undroppable Arsenal players who must start in crucial Newcastle clash

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